Hello Brace Face.

I laughed at my best friend the day she got her braces back in the fourth grade. Her entire mouth was covered in colorful metal brackets, shining for the world to see. I didn’t understand why she needed them, but I definitely felt the need to make fun of her.

The joke was on me because I ended up getting braces as an adult.

I went to work with braces.

Interviewed with braces.

Changed jobs with braces.

Got married with braces (gasp! how dare I!)

For someone as self-conscious as I was, getting braces really pushed me to the limit. It took a while for me to accept them, even though I chose to get them for my own well being. The funny thing about being an adult is that you don’t have to explain yourself to anyone. Your decisions, your choices, and your preferences are your own. I made the decision to straighten my teeth so I learned to embrace the smile.

The day I got the braces was the day I told myself I wouldn’t hide. I would proudly show everyone that I was brave enough to get braces as an adult. I smiled and smiled and smiled. I walked around showing everyone my braces.

As time went on, I got the courage to put red, blue, green, and pink brackets on. My mouth was a rainbow. I looked forward to changing the colors with the seasons and the holidays.

One day, my manager came to me and told me I had inspired her to finally get braces too. She was 50.

My “confidence” to show that there was nothing to be ashamed of gave my manager the kick in the butt needed to get it over with as well.

Which is how I learned that: